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Mining, Metallurgy and Minting in the Middle Ages: Vol. 3: Continuing Afro-European Supremacy, 1250-1450 (African Gold Production and the Second and Third European Silver Production Long-cycles)
Mining, Metallurgy and Minting in the Middle Ages: Vol. 3: Continuing Afro-European Supremacy, 1250-1450 (African Gold Production and the Second and Third European Silver Production Long-cycles)
by Ian Blanchard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $212.00
17 used & new from $86.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive and too filled with obsolete, dated references for the money, August 31, 2014
This book is a massive volume, filled with a large amount of detail but unfortunately is marred by several obsolete, dated references that make the detail less than useful. There are references to the 1800s, 1920s and the early 1970s. These may be useful in a fashion as background but does not represent the most current scholarship circa 2005, when the book was written. At $1500-200 this tome is not cheap and for that kind of money, newer research should be expected.

Historic Plantations of Northeast Florida: A Pictorial Encyclopedia
Historic Plantations of Northeast Florida: A Pictorial Encyclopedia
by Donald D. Spencer
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource, May 31, 2013
Excellent resource, fair and balanced, and enhanced by the author's own photographs and drawings- with detailed commentary and in-depth understanding. A commendable work.

Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans
Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans
by Brian M. Fagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.20
65 used & new from $1.25

19 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some shaky information, May 27, 2013
The notion of Cro-Magnon's as "the first modern humans" is dubious and is debunked in detail by credible anthropologists and palentologists (Brace 2005, Stringer 2012, etc). The first anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa not the caves of Europe (Stringer 1012, Trinkhaus 2000, Mellars 2006, et al).

Equally dubious is the notion of Cro-Magnon's as "ancestors of today's Europeans." This too has been debunked. In fact, Cro-Magnon's bear several resemblances to Africans rather than today's white Europeans, as credible scholars note: QUOTE:

"the oft-repeated European feeling that the
Cro-Magnons are ``us'' (47) is more a product of
anthropological folklore than the result of the
metric data available from the skeletal remains."

--BRace et al, 2005. The Questionable Contribution...

"Nor does the picture get any clearer when we
move on to the Cro-Magnons, the presumed
ancestors of modern Europeans. Some were more
like present-day Australians or Africans, judged
by objective anatomical categorizations, as is
the case with some early modern skulls from the
Upper Cave at Zhoukoudian in China."
--(Christopher Stringer, Robin McKie (1998). African Exodus; The Origins Of Modern Humanity. (Pg. 162)

The same pattern is shown by limb proportion data by credible mainstream scholars- quote:

"Similarly, Cro-Magnon skeletons exhibit a
warm-adapted body stature, not the cold-adapted
formula seen in Neanderthals. This character may
be taken as strong evidence of the replacement
of Neanderthals and supports the single African
origin hypothesis."
--Roger Lewin. 2004. Human evolution: an illustrated introduction.

and- quote:

"As with all the other limb/trunk indices, the recent Europeans evince lower indices, reflective of shorter tibiae, and the recent sub-Saharan Africans have higher indices, reflective of their long tibiae... The Dolno Vestonice and Pavlov humans.. have body proportions similar to those of other Gravettian specimens. Specifically, they are characterized by high bracial and cural indices, indicative of distal limb segment elongation.."

--Trinkaus and Svoboda. 2005. Early Modern Human Evolution in Central Europe

AND respected anthropologist C. Loring Brace who examined cranial data made the debunking clear- QUOTE:

" "When canonical variates are plotted,neither sample ties in with Cro-Magnon as was once suggested. .. If this analysis shows nothing else, it demonstrates that the oft-repeated European feeling that the Cro-Magnons are "us" (46) is more a product of anthropological folklore than the result of the metric data available from the skeletal remains..."
--Brace, et al. The questionable contribution of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age to European craniofacial form, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 January 3; 103(1): p. 242-247.)

Finally, the notion of "advanced" cognitive and behavioral patterns being some sort of "European" thing is also debunked by credible scholars. All of said "advances" were already in place WITHIN AFRICA long before any significant OOA migration out- QUOTE:

"Recent research has provided increasing support for the origins of anatomically
and genetically "modern" human populations in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000
years ago, followed by a major dispersal of these populations to both Asia and Europe
sometime after ca. 65,000 before present (B.P.). However, the central question of why it
took these populations {approx}100,000 years to disperse from Africa to other regions of
the world has never been clearly resolved. It is suggested here that the answer may lie
partly in the results of recent DNA studies of present-day African populations, combined
with a spate of new archaeological discoveries in Africa. Studies of both the mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) mismatch patterns in modern African populations and related mtDNA
lineage-analysis patterns point to a major demographic expansion centered broadly within
the time range from 80,000 to 60,000 B.P., probably deriving from a small geographical
region of Africa.

Recent archaeological discoveries in southern and eastern Africa suggest that, at approximately
the same time, [b]there was a major increase in the complexity of the technological, economic, social,
and cognitive behavior of certain African groups, [/b]which could have led to a major demographic
expansion of these groups in competition with other, adjacent groups. It is suggested that this
complex of behavioral changes (possibly triggered by the rapid environmental changes around
the transition from oxygen isotope stage 5 to stage 4) could have led not only to the expansion of
the L2 and L3 mitochondrial lineages over the whole of Africa but also to the ensuing dispersal of
these modern populations over most regions of Asia, Australasia, and Europe, and their replacement
(with or without interbreeding) of the preceding "archaic" populations in these regions."[/i]
---Mellars, Paul (2006) Why did modern human populations disperse from Africa ca. 60,000 years ago?
A new model. PNAS, 2006, 103(25), pp. 9381-9386

A few other reviewers have noted the shaky conjectures and repetitive "padding" of the text. Not surprising. Feel-good European history may raise self-esteem in some quarters, but it does not measure up to hard data.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2015 7:24 AM PDT

Trapped in Mediocrity: Why Our Schools Aren't World-Class and What We Can Do About It
Trapped in Mediocrity: Why Our Schools Aren't World-Class and What We Can Do About It
by Katherine Baird
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $39.00
41 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not at all worthless- but worth a look, May 18, 2013
Baird's book offers another perspective on failing schools and education "trapped in mediocrity". It is not at all worthless, and any such blanket notion is itself worthless in terms of understanding what the book is about..

First, Baird does not "ignore" racial disparities in scores. This notion is bogus, as can be seen by simply looking at the pages and the index, where the issue is dealt with several times, including not just lower text scores but dropout rates as well. see page 105, 104 for example.

Second Baird does not "ignore" money data in that it is glaringly obvious that simply "mo money" is no panacea for student progress or better schools. This is old news, established 20 years ago.

Third the notion of "ignoring" "dramatic" differences in Asia versus American school is really a stretch. She notes the superior performance of Asians, and Asian countries/schools. See pages 65, 66, and 49 for example...

Fourth in her solutions, Baird does not make much of a brief for higher teacher pay as some sort of panacea, in fact it is little mentioned. Most of the recommendations involve governance and associated issues. Nor does she push charter schools- they are treated as a credible option among many.

Baird does note the strong system of vocational education in other countries and questions why the US is pushing so may on to a college track, when the standards are so low. College degrees and higher education is being cheapened as a result. She also calls for national pushes for higher standards, combined with decentralized execution and implementation at the school level. The center sets the higher standards, the "street" level is given freedom to execute as it sees fit, as long as the higher standards are met. These are reasonable propositions, with pro and con sides.

The book to be frank is a boring read, a policy wonk tome. What else is to be expected? But give the book a fair shake based on what it actually says, not what it supposedly "ignores."

Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom
Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom
by Kathleen A. Deagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.55
38 used & new from $2.61

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, May 18, 2013
Excellent work and well documented. Not a boring text heavy book but heavy with pictures each one of which is scrupulously footnoted and sourced. Great, easy to read book for general public and serious students.

Global Encyclopedia of Political Geography
Global Encyclopedia of Political Geography
by M. A. Chaudhary
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Wikipedia ripoff, August 31, 2011
Don't pay anything for this book. It is a copy and paste job of several Wikipedia articles.
The title: "Global Encyclopedia of Political Geography" is sheer baloney. It has little logic or
structure that one would expect from a geographic text, or one on political economy. Basically
it is a mish-mash of Wiki articles.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plagarism - another rip-off from WIkipedia, August 25, 2011
a rip-off from Wikipedia. The "authors" are bogus.
They added a few "keywords" in the mix to try and fool people
but the whole structure is bogus.

The book is simply a hard copy of the excellent Wikipedia article
"Viet Cong and PAVN battle tactics". There are thousands of
such "books" being offered for sale on Amazon by "Alphascript"
publishers- essentially an automated copy and paste clone operation.
Don;t waste your time buying them. Save your money.
Simply go to the Wikipedia article, on which numerous editors
put in major research and work work.

Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes
Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes
by Stephen Howe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.95
49 used & new from $5.59

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Despitte snarky, polemical curmudgeonly tone, Howe concedes a central plank of Afrocentrism. Ironic..., January 1, 2011
Howe's book offers a fair summary of some trends and history in Afrocentrism, but while devastating on some criticisms, Howe pretty much conceded one of the main Afrocentric arguments- namely that the Egyptians were an indigenous tropical African population. Cheerleaders would do well to consider this.

Indeed, by 1999, the year the book was written there was plenty of evidence to support the Afrocentric claim on this point, not by "wild-eyed" men in Kente cloth but by sober mainstream scholars. Indeed, Afrocentric critic Mary Lefkowitz had this to say in 1996's "Not Out Of Africa:

"Recent work on skeletons and DNA suggests that the people who settled in the Nile valley, like all of humankind, came from somewhere south of the Sahara; they were not (as some nineteenth-century scholars had supposed) invaders from the North..." (Mary Lefkotitz (1997). Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. Basic Books. pg 242)

In Black Athena revisited, Lefkowitz recommended the work of conservative Egyptologist Nancy Lovell for more research on the subject. Here is what Lefkowitz first had to say, then Lovell:


"not surprisingly, the Egyptian skulls were not very distance from the Jebel Moya [a Neolithic site in the southern Sudan] skulls, but were much more distance from all others, including those from West Africa. Such a study suggests a closer genetic affinity between peoples in Egypt and the northern Sudan, which were close geographically and are known to have had considerable cultural contact throughout prehistory and pharaonic history... Clearly more analyses of the physical remains of ancient Egyptians need to be done using current techniques, such as those of Nancy Lovell at the University of Alberta is using in her work.."
-- Mary Lefkowitz, Black Athena revisited 1996. pg 106


Here is the work of the anthropologist so strongly recommended by Lefkowitz, Nancy Lovell:

"There is now a sufficient body of evidence from modern studies of skeletal remains to indicate that the ancient Egyptians, especially southern Egyptians, exhibited physical characteristics that are within the range of variation for ancient and modern indigenous peoples of the Sahara and tropical Africa.. In general, the inhabitants of Upper Egypt and Nubia had the greatest biological affinity to people of the Sahara and more southerly areas." (Nancy C. Lovell, " Egyptians, physical anthropology of," in Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999) pp 328-332)


Lefkowitz cites Keita 1993 in Not Out of Africa. Here is Keita on the Jebel Moya studies? [/b]

[i] "Overall, when the Egyptian crania are evaluated in a Near Eastern (Lachish) versus African (Kerma, Jebel Moya, Ashanti) context) the affinity is with the Africans. The Sudan and Palestine are the most appropriate comparative regions which would have 'donated' people, along with the Sahara and Maghreb. Archaeology validates looking to these regions for population flow (see Hassan 1988)... Egyptian groups showed less overall affinity to Palestinian and Byzantine remains than to other African series, especially Sudanese."
-- S. O. Y. Keita, "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships," History in Africa 20 (1993) 129-54


Here is what the limb proportion studies say- not only about regular Egyptians but some nobles as well, re their tropical African characteristics:

"It can be seen that all the pharonic values, including those of 'Smakhare', lie much closer to the negro curve than to the white curve. Since stature equations only work satisfactorily in the individuals to whom they have applied have similar proportions to the population group from which they are derived, this provides justification for using negro equations for estimating stature from single bones of the New Kingdom pharoahs, renforcing the previous findings of Robins (1983). Furthermore, the Troller and Gleser white equations for the femur, tibia and humerus yield stature values that have a much wider spread than those from negro equations with mean values that are unacceptably large."
--Robins and Schute. The Physical Proportions and Stature of New Kingdom Pharaohs," Journal of Human Evolution 12 (1983), 455-465



"Robins (1983) and Robins & Shute (1983) have shown that more consistent results are obtained from ancient Egyptian male skeletons if Trotter & Gleser formulae for negro are used, rather than those for whites which have always been applied in the past. .. their physical proportions were more like modern negroes than those of modern whites, with limbs that were relatively long compared with the trunk, and distal segments that were long compared with the proximal segments. If ancient Egyptian males had what may be termed negroid proportions, it seems reasonable that females did likewise."
(Robins G, Shute CCD. 1986. Predynastic Egyptian stature and physical proportions. Hum Evol 1:313-324. Ruff CB. 1994.)

Howe had all this data before him, but is careful not to bring much of it out. Finally however, on page 132 of Howe's book, he mentions Keita's work and admits that the ancient Egyptians were [quote]: "this was a people predominantly of indigenous African origin." [endquote]

In short, Howe concedes one of the key planks of Afrocentrism, although he manages to bury it well. To all those who claim he "destroys" Afrocentrism, Howe does nothing of the sort. In fact, amid his snarky criticisms, he concedes one of the central planks or Afrocentrism, and so does Lefkowitz. Ironic, ain't it?

It could be said that Lefkowitz and Lovell, and Canadian Egyptologist Frank Yurco deserve credit for their fair-minded appraisal of the ancient Egyptian population. Scholarship since 1999 overwhelmingly strengthens the conclusion that the ancient Egyptians were a tropically adapted indigenous African population.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2015 6:10 PM PDT

The Berbers: The Peoples of Africa
The Berbers: The Peoples of Africa
by Michael Brett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $56.00
53 used & new from $3.93

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good information, May 11, 2010
Very good information in this book, with comprehensive detail for the earliest times of the Berbers down to contemporary issues. Coverage of early Berber history is outstanding, showing that the Berbers are linked to indigenous Africans. For example as to the original Saharans in the BErber speaking zone, the authors note:

""the original Saharans were 'negroid' and left behind their distinctive art and iconography in rock carvings and art."

Intriguing links are noted with the tropical peoples of Upper Egypt. For example rather than simply accept older writings that allege sweeping invasions by "bearded men" from outside into Africa, or from elsewhere in the Maghreb, the authors reference hard anthropological data of actual specimens on the ground and find, Quote:

".. the skeletons seem to show closer resemblance to groups from the upper Nile Valley than to contemporary material from the Maghreb."

Blood type analyses show linkages between the Black Northern Haratin of Algeria and ancient Egyptians as detailed by the studies of Paoli 1972.

All in all a good roundup of information on the Berbers ancient and contemporary.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 6:29 PM PST

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Looks like a copy and paste, March 6, 2010
Most of the text seems directly from a Wikipedia article of the same name "African Military Systems."

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